The first thing I do when I sit down to write the weekly forecast is to mark up all the week’s planetary aspects in my Llewellyn’s Daily Planetary Guide. Well, I could barely believe my eyes when I saw that there are no major planetary aspects this week!
That certainly makes up for last week, when I pretty much had to write a book, on top of a video explaining the lunar eclipse. The manifestations of the eclipse and the significant aspects surrounding it are still unfolding this week and will continue to do so for another week, possibly even a month, until the next Full Moon, which falls on December 28.
In the meantime, all we have this week are lunar aspects, unless you count events like the Sun quindecile Admetos or Venus inconjunct Eris – which I don’t. The Moon is in Leo on Monday and moves through four signs, as it does in the course of a week, making aspects with the Sun and eight planets along the way. Astrologers who write daily horoscopes often use these aspects, but I tend to ignore them, because they are fleeting, and there’s simply no way to write anything meaningful about them that you can use. You’re more likely to feel the effects of the Moon aligning with a personal planet or chart angle – and even then, only briefly – and that’s not anything I can address in a weekly column. The best I can do is to reiterate the importance of being familiar with your own chart and knowing how to get information about your transits on any given day.
Mercury is picking up speed following his return direct last Monday. I’ve had several stops and starts over the past week, but in general, the frustration is easing up. One of the predictions I made about Mercury’s return direct in Scorpio was that we’d get a flood of details about things hidden, at least since Election Day and possibly longer. Yesterday while browsing the headlines of HuffPo, I came across a long and very detailed article by Julian Assange highlighting stories that have emerged in the two years since WikiLeaks published a vast archive of U.S. diplomatic cables. Although these details aren’t new, the retroactive look at government secrets is very much in keeping with Mercury’s return direct in secretive Scorpio.
On Thursday, Mercury conjoins the lunar North Node, the third pass in his retrograde cycle. If we regard the North Node as a symbol of purpose, destiny, or some other special significance, then Mercury’s back-and-forth crossing of this point should be interpreted as a message containing necessary information about these themes. The biggest event that happened in this period, of course, was the re-election of President Obama. My whole approach to the election wasn’t to support the candidate with the “right” ideology (i.e., the one you agree with) but to accept the right candidate for the extraordinary times we’re in. Although, as an astrologer, I have my view of what the next four years are going to be like, I also know that unexpected events can happen that radically alter the world as we know it, and there’s no way I can predict these events.
In looking at some charts for this week, the only other thing that stands out is a Yod that reflects the lunar eclipse chart and that will continue into next year, with Saturn and Pluto at the base and Jupiter at the apex. This is as good a time as any to discuss Yods. I’ve been changing my mind about them, based on research. When I first heard about them several years ago, I’d had no experience with them and so took it on faith from other astrologers who did have experience that there was something very important about them. I recently came across an old article by Chris Brennan that reminded me of what happens when information circulates the Internet and becomes “fact” by virtue of appearing in so many different places. When and where did this view of Yods come from? It’s not in any of the ancient texts and in fact is a modern invention. In my mind, that makes it untested. In researching how other astrologers come up with their interpretations, I’ve read many good arguments, but there is a lot of disagreement about what Yods mean, if anything. That’s to be expected with a new idea. The same thing is happening regarding the asteroids, which is why I also approach them with caution. Right now, all we have are a lot of theories. Before you can prove anything, you need a theory, so theories are great – provided you keep in mind that they are just that and don’t take them as goddess-honest truth.
Yods are said to be rare, and according to some interpretations, they represent unusually difficult challenges. Who doesn’t have difficult challenges? According to others, they indicate a special purpose or destiny. I haven’t seen any kind of systematic study showing that Yods are any rarer than, say, a T-square or a grand cross. And certainly, those configurations carry much greater weight, as they involve major aspects. A quincunx (sometimes called an inconjunct) is a minor aspect – not to be entirely ignored, but also not to be elevated above major aspects. It’s tempting, as one advances one’s astrological knowledge, to find lesser-known aspects, planets, asteroids, fictitious points in space – whatever – and to hone in on them, simply because it’s something new and carries the aura of advanced knowledge. These new ideas are all very interesting and can add richness and complexity to chart interpretation, but they shouldn’t be regarded as substitutes for the basic building blocks of astrology. The conjunction is still the most powerful aspect, and aspects to personal planets are more significant than outer planetary aspects. Pluto conjunct your Moon? You bet you’re going to feel it. Pluto in a Yod with Neptune and Vesta? Not so much.
I know that a lot of people will disagree with me and might say they have personal experience to prove their point. My response is that it’s extremely difficult to “prove” which astrological aspect correlates to an event or personality trait. It is all too easy to see connections that either aren’t there or that are weak and to miss others that are more compelling. This is one of the biggest dilemmas facing astrologers, and the more planets, asteroids, and chart patterns such as the Yod we throw into the toolbox, the more difficult it is to find the right tool to hit the nail. Sometimes you really just need the hammer, and that’s that.
One thing that’s certain is that we have an exact Sun-Jupiter opposition this evening (December 2, 8:45 p.m. EST), with the Earth in between and Jupiter the closest he’ll be to us until 2021. There’s a terrific article on the astronomy of this event at EarthSky. Financial astrologer Ray Merriman considers this aspect one the key signatures in market reversals. Keeping in mind that Jupiter is in the sign of his detriment and retrograde, it’s nevertheless an annual event worth noting. You’ll notice this aspect most if you have personal planets or chart angles at 9-13 degrees of the mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces).
Before I go, I want to announce that the StarGuide Winter 2013 Forecast is now available. Turnaround time is three-to-five days, so keep that in mind as you plan your holiday shopping.
Wishing you all much love and courage,